“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a popular literary piece. It focuses on several differences in the connection among John and his significant other. The story shows the physical and the declined mindset of women due to medically prescribed treatment of being allowed to do nothing. Gilman created this fictional narrative based on her personal experience with depression. This story was written to condemn the sexual politics which make the medical treatment prescribed possible.
The story is critically complimented because it focuses the unequal relationship of males and females in society. The male gender is perceived to be a dominate society while the female gender is not given the space to make decisions independently of men. Throughout the narrative, this is seen when John puts down or belittles his wife. John does not have respect for his wife and he treats her like one of his children by calling her a little girl.
This makes the wife dislike her house and her spouse. To her, the environment seems too isolated, making her unhappy. The story portrays women in Western society as deprived of their rights. Instead, they are treated like objects or men’s possessions. They have nowhere to exercise their personal freedoms, and they feel belittled by the dominant male society.
For instance, John keeps on dismissing his wife’s thoughts and opinions. John believes that his wife should depend solely on him for almost everything. This is why this story has such popularity, mostly by women who feel that they deserve a better place in the society, that they need space to exercise their creativity and productivity. Women feel they have strong potential and the ability to do anything, just like men do, and they should not depend on men for everything. Rather, they should depend on men as much as men depend on women.
Women should have their decisions respected, and no one should dismiss their ideas. Instead, ideas should be shared and debated, regardless of gender. Men should support women equally rather than belittle them. John acts as the mirror through which women are viewed negatively in the society, a society in which women are not perceived to be full citizens. They are not supposed to be anywhere near the political arena or in the public eye. Instead, they should remain at home. This view has led to women fighting for their rights through creating women movements to fight for their place in the society.
In the end, the narrator wins over John as she literally crawls over him but escapes from him only into madness. As a leading feminist lecturer and writer, Gilman found other options than madness to end her confinement in traditional definitions of womanhood. Eventually, Gilman divorced her husband, who married her best friend, and her husband and her best friend raised her child.
The public, friends, and family so sharply censured Gilman for her actions that she knew many women would stay in unhealthy situations rather than risk such disapproval. By having the story end with the narrator’s descent into insanity, Gilman sobs the reality that few feasible options exist for creative, intellectual women to escape the damaging social definitions of womanhood represented by John. In her horrifying depiction of a housewife gone mad, Gilman attempts to warn her readership that denying women full humanity is dangerous to women, family, and society as a whole.